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Wednesday, August 12 • 4:35pm - 5:00pm
Bridging The Gap: Technophobia and Community Dynamics

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Technobobia is often associated with generations of “digital immigrants” (Pensky 2001) but also serves as an important meter as to the dynamics of the range of technological relationships within a learning community (Selwyn 2008). Establishing a functional identity in diverse learning community presents a challenge in an ever-changing technological environment but the lack thereof can reduce teaching effectiveness. Applying generalized ecological theory related to community dynamic (Ricklefs 2008; Whittaker 1962; Baselga and Araújo 2010; Didhama et al. 2005; Wang et al. 2015) to issues facing the language and culture learning community offers a framework upon which we can begin to bridge the generational and cultural divide between the educators and students starting with the way that we value existing resources. Among the most valued resources in learning communities are the experienced educators who vary greatly in their comfort level with changing technology. Practical theoretical extrapolations would be (1) relating varying technological capabilities to the correlation between biodiversity and the success of an ecological community so as to emphasize the need to adapt technology to the capability of the constituents; (2) optimizing the effectiveness of all available resources by keeping older technologies on hand and ensuring that new technologies enhance the valuable knowledge and experience of seasoned faculty members without compromising the connection to the past; (3) buffering drastic (and potentially distracting) pedagogical transitions by facilitating gradual or phase-based integrations for new technological systems and offering personalized training that caters to the capability and needs of constituents; (4) ensure sustainable benefits of new technology by patiently encouraging to educators who are hesitant or resistant to new technologies. Essentially, effectiveness of teaching methods will always be most closely related to an educator’s ability to connect with their students in their own teaching style and therefore creative and ecologically-inspired approaches to addressing technophobia will allow language and culture learning communities to maintain the important balance between the past and present and continue to thrive in the future.


Audrey R. Zarb

Foreign Language Technology Center, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

Wednesday August 12, 2015 4:35pm - 5:00pm EDT
Holden Chapel Holden Chapel, Harvard Bus Tunnel, Cambridge, MA